Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Hey Mike,

I can not remember if I have mentioned this to you in an email before, but you might want to take a look at the Barter Theatre in Virginia.  So far as I am aware they come as close, in practice, to your Platonic ideal of the Regional Theatre as I have seen. They hire a resident company of actors for the year(several started out as interns 20+ years ago), who also tend to work "staff" jobs as well. This gives a strong cross pollination between admin and artists. They produce numerous works set in and around their local area(Southwestern Virginia) commissioned or adapted.  They have a touring company(composed of acting interns) who perform works for school age audiences.  When they built their second stage it was with the express purpose of producing more work, i.e. the building serves the art, not the institution.  Every summer they produce a play festival dedicated to works by and about the apalachian (read local) region of Virginia.  Their interns get rigorous training, both studio style and in live performance to hone their skills. 

In short they are doing, and could serve as a model for, the very thing you are looking for in Regional Theatre.  Incidentally they have an absurdly high percentage of people locally who attend the theatre, as opposed to most LORTs who get less than 5% of the local population to attend.  They are not perfect, but I know of no earthy organization of humans that is.

For full disclosure, I work there often as a guest artist, but am not payed salary by the company.  While they do job in a few artists throughout the season, that is not due to not hiring local or seasonal artists, but rather because of the sheer volume of work they create (18+ shows a year excluding their play festival) they must needs fill some gaps.

I hope this information proves useful.



Lucas Benjaminh Krech
Lighting Design